In Summary

If you move into a rental and find it boring, there are different ways you can style it up to suit your taste.

If you sit down to read through your tenancy agreement or have a discussion with your landlord about the terms and conditions, you will find out there are things you can and cannot do. No wallpaper, no nails or screws. You may agree to settle in a house but a lot of things starting with the choice of floor or tiling, colours on the wall, and lighting, among others, do not meet your taste. However, with a pinch of imagination, you can transform your rented home, tackling even the most overlooked areas such as the hallway without breaking the bank or pissing off your land lord.

Think white
Assad Kabugo, an interior designer with Foxwood interiors, Ltd says: “Nothing opens up a small space or gives a room a cleaner, fresher feel than pure white walls.” First, it reflects light and it is easy to pull together unlike the colour or high contrast room, which takes a lot of talent and budget. White goes well with every colour. If you have old, worn out furniture, buy them white slipcovers. White has very many shades you will be spoilt for choice. The downside of white is that it is harder to maintain, and preserve the original colour shade than a dark coloured wall.

Lighting is an easy, high impact way to brighten up your home. If you find your landlord has his lighting system installed already, then you do something comfortable for you. “For the sitting and dining rooms, one doesn’t need too much light,” says Assad. He suggests two ways of reducing the light without tampering with the existing system. One can opt for coloured lights if they are on a tight budget or go for lamp shades, which give the room a better feel and reflect the modern trend.

Mix up
Mixup art, photos and wall hangings
“It may sound obvious, but personal photos, your favourite art and unique wall décor, will instantly make a space feel more of your own. Family photos, even your favourite paintings, can dramatically change the atmosphere of a home,” says Lena Busingye, who rents a family home.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to put your pictures up, including using damage-free picture hanging strips and easily-removed washi tape, to hang your frames.
For those with enough resources, Assad advises them to go for assembled walls where they can implement their concepts while leaving the brick wall intact. The advantage with it is that when it is time for moving, one can just fold it up and go with it.

Bring the outside in
Fresh flowers are beautiful but buying them regularly can be expensive and tiresome. Therefore, plants are an easier and cheaper way of adding colour to your space. You can sit your plants in pots on a book shelf, in floor stands or hang them from the ceilings in macramé hangers. However, Assad advises that before you bring plants or flowers indoors, first seek professional advice about the effect of particular plants on your health.

Brighten up your shade
The outdoor speaks a lot about the house and the owner’s taste. Assad advises that one buys lots of flowers and make time for them to keep them healthy and beautiful. Most rented spaces are surrounded by concrete which leaves one option that is flower pots. These come in a wide range depending on one’s choice. From macramé hangers hanging from the ceiling to those pinned on the wall and sitting on floor, one has plenty of options to choose from.
And for those with enough on their budget, can install pergolas, a new and flexible way of designing or extending a porch. A basic pergola can cost up to Shs5m. Pergolas can be permanent or temporary. “If one is in a rented space with enough porch space, he or she can install a temporary one, which can be moved when one is leaving,” says Assad.

If you do not like the tiles fixed, the option is using carpets either textile or plastic, depending on your budget.